Athometown

LOCATIEOnline and everywhere

A database of positive locations in the world where people feel instantly at home.

There probably is a place, somewhere in the world; when you arrived there you instantly felt at home and you knew: this place belongs to me! This place can be a country, a city, a forest, a little bench, a square, a room, or even one chair in a room. Athometown collects these stories. A walk through the streets of Athometown.com offers entrance to many ‘poetic life stories’ and reveals what feeling at home means to people.

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There are also secondary homes:

These places in which you grew up as a child, a favorite place to visit like your frequent holiday-spot. Also the homes of your best friends belong in this category. Your workspace. The small shop where you buy every day your croissant.
Or it can be a path that you have been walking on for so many times.

The project ‘Athometown’ is focusing on places and moments that from the beginning felt like home and didn’t need to grow to become one. *
You arrived at the spot, walked in or saw it from a distance. You blinked your eyes and realized:
This is where I feel at home; This part of the world belongs to me.

This doesn’t necessary have to be a house, but could also be an ocean, a plane or your favorite sweater. It can be a country, a city, a forest, and a bridge in this city, a square, a room, or even only a chair in the corner of this room.

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I am in love with the Himalayas.
The first time I saw them I sat in a bus from India to Nepal.
The land was totally flat, and suddenly on the horizon the hymalaya’s appeared. Boem! Immence naturepower. *

I would not want to live there. This I preferably do at a big water like the sea.
The sea makes me restless. Restlessness brings inspiration. With the wind the stories of the world enter my head. *
The Himalayas are making me silent.
And all the people I meet there have a similar peace. *

The longer I’m there, the higher I get, the less growth, the more silence. *

Until the heights where you cross once in a while these huge green tablelands, wide and extensive, scattered with bones of animals that didn’t leave by time when the snow began to fall. Everywhere minuscule little flowers.          I am a tiny being. The horizon, 360 degrees around, all mountaintops covered with snow. *

I am Marieke van Diepen.
I made many travelings in my life.
In 2007 I graduated at the Jewelry department from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam.
Since then I am working with the subject Home.
In Dutch I use the word Thuis which is more accurately translated as “At Home” Heimat is a German word which comes close to the meaning of Thuis.

I call myself a poetic designer. *

*    *      *     *

One of my recent projects is Athometown.
Athometown is a project with different dimension and layers. It’s existing in the 2d, 3d and virtual dimension.
It starts with a hand drawn map of a virtual city. *
In this city all area’s and street names are referring to the home environment. *
For each house on the map I made a little porcelain house that can be worn as a necklace. *
Every house is unique and caries it’s personal code that refers to his address on the map. *
For example my house caries the code 5-LR-AA.  House number 5 at the lumen river in the Attic Area. *
This code is my address on the map and also on the website of Athometown where the map is to be found as well. *

So when someone buys a house in my city he also gets a bit of space on the website of Athometown. As payment for the house I ask people, next to some administration costs, to tell their story about this place where they felt instantly at home.

In this way Athometown will slowly become a very valuable database of stories on positive locations, spread around the whole world, where people instantly felt at home.
It opens a discussion on what feeling at home means to people these days. *

Back in time it used to be that feeling at home was quite directly connected to the house where one was living. But these days this concept is changing a lot.
Traveling became super easy and is now a part of our daily lives. *

Many people are flying all over the world for their work and to keep in touch with their friends. And those who are not flying have a car or use a daily train.

The houses where we live are not anymore the only centre in our existence. *

What does this do with our “feeling at home” experiences?
The Internet is becoming a very essential medium within the live of these traveling people. *
What effects have all these virtual communities on feeling at home?

Someone said athometown is a project about all modern nomads. *
A walk through the streets of Athometown is diving into the stories of many different people all over the world. Stories about the poetry of life.
With just one click on the houses with the red roofs you will be able to read the story of the owner of that Athometown house. *

By buying a house in Athometown, In the first place you obtain a piece of jewelry which always will remind you on this special place in your life.

One of the important functions of jewelry, next to decorating the wearer, is carrying stories and emotional values.
Historical pieces carry the value of time and are telling about the time where they where made. The habits, the rituals, the possibilities. They carry our historical heritage. *

Within family histories jewelry plays a big role as well. Like the ring of your gran-gran-gran mother which passed through the whole family until it came to you. *
The porcelain Athometown houses also gain immediate value at the moment a person chooses to have one.

It’s going to carry a story which is very close to you, close and at the same time about a place which can be anywhere in the world. *

Athometown  is actually representing the first real international city.
And a very moveable one.

The citizens carry the city around their neck where ever they are: It would be so nice to have this visualized on a world map so you can see how the city is spread.
And at the same time the story told by each person can be about a total different place on the world map. *
So each house in Athometown refers to two different places. **
It could be that you live in Germany, talking about a place in South Africa, while your neighbor lives in Australia, and is talking about a place in France..
When Athometown has gathered a good amount of data I am going to find an interesting way to visualize all these connections. *

Why did I make Athometown? *
First of all because of my passion for traveling.
Second, because I want to collect a super positive view on the world and life.

There excist all kind of subjective ideas and prejudgments on the world we live in.
With my travelings I had so many positive experiences in places that are in a negative way in the picture.

My last trip was 5 months China. * I was there in 2008, just before the Olympic games had their kick off. China was a lot in the news.
When I came back home people there had already there opinion set.
My stories about how amazing, how different and beautiful this country was where quickly covered by their opinion. China was a bad egg. *

How can someone know so sure without seeing? How are we able to judge a country that we are not able to understand at all? And this only by the partial information we get from the news?
Athometown is also going to be a super subjective story about this world.
But it is going to be a positive one instead of a negative. *

At the moment Athometown only exists for a few months and there are about a hundred house owners. *
The project doesn’t develop at all in the way I planned it in advance. It has it’s own will, created by the will of all the people who are participating and the people who are going to participate.

Feeling at home is a super brought subject.
I am quite specific on what kind of ‘feeling at home’ I am talking about. But everybody finally understands this in their own way and has a different feeling about what essentially feeling at home could mean.

This starts already with the many different ways of people choosing their address on the Athometown map.
Some are very busy on who their neighbors might be, others want to be in the centre centre. Some want a house alone, which is difficult to find in Athometown,
And an obvious thing, what I didn’t think about in advance is that many many people want to live on the water.
I was even thinking about filling all the streets with water.
And I expect a lot of feeling at home stories will be about places next to the water. *

*A very touching story is about a women who bought a house for a friend in the Qwuilt street. When I asked her why, she explained to me that this friend just lost her mother. It felt like she lost her home by loosing her mother.
This mother was always making patch works. And that’s why she was going to buy her a new home in the qwuilt street. *

Is there a place in your life where you instantly felt at home I asked to an other women.
She looked at the little houses, than looked me strait into the eyes and said No.
I was perplex and she walked away. *

I am a little impatient waiting for every ones story. It takes people quite a while to write down these few sentences and pick a photo. They let me know that they are working on it, but somehow they have hard time to choose.
Why would that be?
Is it scary to write down your ultimate home feeling? Does it create the feeling that you have to take consequences on what is written down?

A friend of mine talked in her story about sailing as the ultimate home feeling
Later she came to me and said. Wow Marieke, by writing this down I suddenly realize I should take more care of this passion for sailing. *

My studio mate feels amazingly at home in the dessert in Egypt.
The first time she came there she immediately fell in love.
She is originally Dutch and grew up in France. So no dessert in her childhood. *

After she returned home she didn’t go back for a long time. She didn’t dare to spoil this love feeling for this place. And she was afraid it was within that very moment that it fitted so well.

Only after a long time she had the courage to test whether this was true or not.
She returned to this dessert and its people,
and had the same experience again.
This dessert belongs with her. How come, she didn’t know.
But, She feels At Home. *